On Hedgehogs and Happiness

Our daughter, Bronwynn, was recently given a hedgehog named, Bella. A friend once described hedgehogs as “unspeakably adorable” and it’s true. Bella is perky and precocious. With curiosity in every expression, Bella, approaches life with expectation and a sense of adventure.

Bella brings me happiness. And I think she could school us all in a little joy.

  • Bella expects to find something each day. She wears curiosity with confidence. What might the world give? What gifts might she receive?
  • Bella takes joy in simple things. Her favorite toy is an empty toilet roll! It’s really just a simple cardboard tube but she attacks it with enthusiasm each time. She pushes her head into it enthusiastically and pushes it around. If you try to take it off her head she gets a little annoyed.
  • Bella doesn’t really like getting a bath but she endures it for the joy of a good belly rub! She huffs and puffs and growls and groans until it’s over…but when the belly love begins she settles down with sweet contentment. She relaxes. The hard part is over. Let the party start. Her breathing slows and she nearly always falls asleep, a happy, happy hedgehog.
  • Underneath the quills and hard prickly exterior, Bella is a tender creature. She wants you to think she’s quite fierce….a (quite tiny) force to be reckoned with! But if you are brave enough to get close (and every quill on her little exterior dares you not to!) and scoop her up she melts. She settles into friendship. She was needy all along…she just didn’t want you to think so! There is a fragile type of vulnerable joy in that.
  • Bella experiences some anxiety in new situations. She straightens all her pins and starts to breath heavy, like an old man snoring with a pillow over his head! Her anxiety rarely lasts long. She adjusts. She accommodates a new sound, a new experience, a new scent. Soon, and it doesn’t seem to take her too long, she relaxes and begins to explore again. I suspect the new and scary moments seem long to her. She makes all types of protesting sounds. But from our taller perspective, looking down at her wee world, we can see an end. The dog will walk past, the vacuuming will be done eventually, the bath will be over, the television will be turned down. The trouble will end. Our perspective accommodates the broader picture, the bigger reality. We don’t stress over her agonies because we know they are temporary. She will get through this. Hedgehog horrors come in the evening moments but joy comes in a morning moment.
  • Bella knows she is loved. She is sure of it. She lives out of that reality. Every morning (or actually night….for Bella is, alas, nocturnal!) she wakes and stretches and gets busy being who she was created to be: A Hedgehog! There is great happiness in that simple purpose.

 Do you have pets? How have they schooled you in joy? 

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11 thoughts on “On Hedgehogs and Happiness

  1. Robynn, hedgehogs are an important part of Russian culture. I love the Russian name for them, ёжик (yo-szhik). You last insight was very powerful. Thank you for sharing with us.

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  2. What perceptive musings about wee Bella the hedgehog. I have a cat, an elderly cat called Chunky who brings me much joy with his amusing antics – scarcely is he “in” than he wants “out. He hangs around to join me at the computer – has to be lifted up as it’s too high to jump, and he doesn’t eat unless he knows I’m watching him. He lies on my tummy with his face a couple of inches from mine and stretches his paws up to my neck in a feline hug. I find him to be one of the tame beasts that praises the Lord!.

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    1. I would love to meet your affectionate cat Chunky! Our cat is moody and ornery. Chunky praises God. Chunky communicates some of the love God has for you too!

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  3. Robyn, this blog brings back wonderful memories from my childhood. We had several hedgehogs. Love the layered messages. May we all remember that God sees the bigger picture and fully trust his guidance. Petra

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    1. We had two hedgehogs in our grade five classroom in boarding school. They brought such joy to all of us. After lunch each day we would all head out to the field to collect grass hoppers and crickets for the hedgehogs. Mr Somerville would read aloud to us while we collected their lunch! What a fun memory!
      Thanks for reading through to the layers of deeper meaning!

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  4. Bella sounds SO cute. Thanks for all the great descriptions of your pet!!! I have five chickens and contrary to popular belief they are sweet and loving. One of my chickens, Beauty, is so joyful when ever we bring her scraps from the table. She literally jumps for joy until we dump it for them. Then sometimes they make contented clucking noises as they eat.

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    1. I would love to see Beauty jump for joy!! There’s a poem hidden in there somewhere. Thanks for telling us about your chickens!

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  5. What an adorable creature! I’ve heard that hedgehogs have gained popularity as pets recently and was wondering how they adjust to family life. Two analogies occurred to me as I was reading paragraph about Bella’s anxiety in new situations. First, how our Father must also watch our anxiousness and want to reassure us that this, too, will pass, if we just have patience and lean on His understanding and not our own. And how we as earthly parents feel as we prepare to send our children out into the unknown, how we’d like to reassure them that it’s all going to be okay, especially at this graduation-full time of the year.

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    1. Stacy…. I’ve learned so much about God and myself just watching our silly Bella!
      Are one of yours graduating this year? Grace to you…

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      1. I’m right in the middle, Robynn. Elder daughter graduated from college last June and her little sister will follow next year. So they are both technically out of the home already but graduation and a real job seem even more final with no long summer holidays.

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